Get 8(a) Certified on Your Own


Why is the 8a Program so Desirable?

Social Disadvantage

Ensure you know what the SBA is looking for when you write your social and/or economic narrative. Also, make sure you know which topics to avoid, so you don't give the SBA the wrong impression.

Financial Limits

It is not uncommon for an 8(a) application to be rejected by the SBA due to a miscommunication. The "Request for Reconsideration" process often reverses an initial rejection, and this book tells you how to do it.

Small Business Administration 8a Program Regulations, 8a Certification Criteria,  

A waiver request must be submitted with your 8a application if you have been in business for less than two years. Ensure you thoroughly understand the waiver rules so your request is approved.

SBA 8a Program Guidance based on Experience 

About the Book


8a Application Guidance and Over 25 Years of 8a Program Insider Information

About the Authors

Disadvantaged small business owners interested in selling to the federal government via the US Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program will benefit from this reference book, the first-ever certification-to-graduation guide to 8(a) contracting.

Topics covered include preparing a compliant SBA 8(a) application that will be reviewed and accepted quickly, the rules and regulations SBA staff members use to evaluate 8(a) applications, critical federal contracting concepts all 8(a) business owners must understand and how to maximize your success in the 8(a) program.

All the different forms, documents and narratives needed for the 8(a) application are discussed in detail, ensuring a small business owner can prepare his or her 8(a) application without reliance on attorneys or consultants.


Contact the Publisher

Two Year Waiver

8a Program Narrative

The SBA would never endorse an 8(a) book authored by consultants, particularly one that discloses their internal 8(a) application evaluation criteria; however, the case study content and advice provided in Get 8(a) Certified is derived from real interactions with SBA representatives that resulted in approved social and economic narratives, 8(a) Applications, Requests for Reconsideration, 1010c Business Plans, etc.

Although the SBA does not say this bluntly, those familiar with the SBA 8(a) program understand the following key privileges make this program extremely desirable to small disadvantaged business owners and government personnel alike:

Examples of Book Topics

Only Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans are automatically considered "socially disadvantaged" by the SBA. Be prepared for an uphill battle to get accepted into the 8a Program if you are not a member of one of these groups.

Roger M. LaPlante possesses more than 25 years of experience in 8(a) federal contracting. He has held executive positions at several 8(a) certified companies, and was the Senior Partner at an 8(a) consulting firm that helped thousands of 8(a) business owners succeed in the SBA 8(a) program. Mr. LaPlante holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and is a formally active U.S. Marine. 

Anna Liisa Van Mantgem is a writer and researcher who has worked on compiling and reviewing SBA 8(a) applications for compliance for customers since 2008. Prior to her 8(a) certification work, Ms. Van Mantgem served as a defense contractor at several different small 8(a) certified businesses over a ten year period. Ms. Van Mantgem is an honors graduate from the University of Maryland.

1. SBA 8(a) certified companies benefit from 8(a) status because federal employees authorized to purchase goods and services can simply award sole source contracts (up to $4 million dollars each; $6.5 million for manufacturing) without any competition or protest from other companies. In short, all an 8(a) certified company needs is a federal employee with a pressing requirement and an available budget--industry competition isn't a factor.

2. Federal government personnel benefit from working with 8(a) certified businesses because awarding contracts to 8(a) companies dramatically reduces their paperwork and risk. By setting a contract aside for an 8(a) company, federal employees eliminate the need to issue Request For Proposals (RFPs), collect quotes, evaluate proposals or worry about award protests from unhappy bidders. In addition, money can be allocated and work can begin in a matter of days, not months. This reduced labor burden for federal employees makes the 8(a) contract vehicle appealing to federal procurement personnel.


To join the 8a program, you must meet several financial criteria, such as a personal net worth under $250K. It is important to understand how the SBA will adjust your net worth  and assess your finances before you apply.

Request for Recon

All of the information provided in Get 8(a) Certified is based on 25+ years of consulting experience with companies that applied for the SBA 8(a) program and were approved, or were already in the 8(a) program and required business development assistance. Examples cited in the book are real and based on actual 8(a) clients - only their names and personal details have been changed to protect privacy.